This post contains affiliate links
Today, I am going to go through all of the major steps you have to take in order to start a money-making blog. Consider this your all-in-one tutorial to begin your career as a blogger.
When I first started blogging 2 years ago, I never thought a fun hobby could turn into side income. I am slowly but surely starting to see the income creep up. Last month, I earned $900 just from blogging. That’ll pay a few bills!
Just a quick disclaimer that I am not a professional writer nor is blogging my full-time income. For me, it’s a way to earn a little extra cash on the side in addition to my day job. I’m also a full-time bank manager and a daddy to 4 kids. Life always has me spinning in circles, so I don’t always have the time needed to make my blog a full-time income, but that’s ok, I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for anything
My blogging story
I started blogging at the end of 2015 with really no idea how to do it or how to make it go anywhere. I looked at my blog as a fun hobby to talk about my family and write about parenting advice.
I really wasn’t getting much, if any, of a following to what I was reading. I thought I was sharing to the right places, but nothing seemed to work for me. Earlier this year, I changed my blogging niche from parenting and family to helping others learn how to blog and earn a solid income from blogging. I’m seeing a much greater following and response from the articles and tutorials I provide. I really love helping others in all steps of blogging experience – from newbies to experts.
My blogging income isn’t the same every month. Sometimes I earn $200 and sometimes I earn $1,000. We’ll talk later on about how to get the most income out of each and every blog post.
I wouldn’t be earning the income I’m earning today if I didn’t take a leap of faith and start my blog.
What the heck is a blog?
You’ve heard of a journal or diary, right? Well, a blog is very similar. A blog (weblog) is a place where you can share your beliefs, interests, hobbies, and more. The first step in starting your blog is the desire to write about something you love. This becomes your niche. Make sure to pick a niche you can write about all the time. My niche is blogging tips and product reviews.
Who can blog?
Well, essentially anyone can blog. You don’t have to be technically-advanced or certified in coding to start a blog. You need an internet connection, a web host, a domain, and a blogging platform to get you up and running.
There are thousands of bloggers who work from home full time. Some bloggers, like myself, blog part time. You can earn the same amount of income as a full time blogger if you put the right income strategy in place. The best way to monetize your blog is through affiliate marketing (don’t freak out yet!).
What kind of income will I make? Is it worth all the time and effort?
You will make as much income as the effort you put into your blog. If you write one post a month and don’t promote it very well, don’t expect to make $4,000! Blogging takes serious determination, perseverance, and organizational skills (just like any job, right?). With the right income and promotion strategy, you can earn a lot! I know there are some bloggers who say they earned $10,000 after their first month. Don’t fall into the trap that this is the norm. Hardly any blog earns much after the first 6 months, let alone after one! It takes time!
How much does it cost to start a blog?
Not very much at all. If you already have an internet connection, you can start today for free. While I don’t recommend ever using a free version of WordPress or Blogger, if you are looking to get your feet wet in the blogging world, you don’t have to spend a dime.
The reason I don’t recommend you sticking with a free blogging platform is because you are severely limited at monetizing your blog on free platforms. You also look unprofessional. Would you rather visit www.goaskyourdaddy.wordpress.com or www.goaskyourdaddy.com? Which looks better? Developing your brand off the bat includes your online presence.
But, if you are going to monetize your blog, you must self-host your site. I would never use another company to host my blog and domain other than SiteGround. You can get web hosting from SiteGround starting at only $3.95 per month. That’s super cheap! I currently use the Startup Plan which is perfect for the size of my blog. The good thing about SiteGround’s plans is that if you find yourself growing beyond the limitations of your plan, you can always upgrade easily.
Interested in SiteGround? Use my referral link right here to get started today!
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
1. Pick Your Domain Name
Your domain name to your blog is like the name to a store or to a company. Picking your domain name can take some time and creativity. I went through 2 domain names before I arrived at goaskyourdaddy.com.
If you choose to host your website with SiteGround, you can also have them host your domain name. You’ll be asked to tell SiteGround what your existing domain name is if you have one, or if you don’t have one, it’ll search for some that are available. If you want to host your domain name elsewhere, I highly recommend Namecheap.com. Register your domain name at Namecheap starting at only $.88. Registering your domain name with your hosting company is usually the best route to go if you want everything neatly tucked into one company. They’ll usually throw in a good deal for you, but you can host elsewhere if you desire.
2. Sign up with SiteGround
Once you type in www.siteground.com into your browser, you land at their homepage. If you want to review their plans, click on “See Plans.” Otherwise, click on Sign Up.
Once you click on Sign Up, you’ll be taken to the plan options. Choose your plan and then click “Order Now.”
SiteGround will then give you the option to register a new domain or use a current domain.
3. Install WordPress
SiteGround makes it easy to install WordPress onto your new site. Once you have completed your registration, you will be taken to your cPanel account. From there, install WordPress from the Autoinstallers menu. If you do not already have an existing WordPress site you want to transfer over to SiteGround, you’ll be able to start blogging once the install is complete.
For those bloggers who are moving an existing site, you will need to download your site files from your existing web host and upload them into your SiteGround account. The next step after that is to migrate your database. SiteGround will do all of this for you as an included benefit with your hosting account. I highly recommend you let them do this for you so that you don’t lose data. SiteGround responds quickly and had my site up and running in less than 24 hours.
4. Writing your first blog post
It’s really exciting to finally write your first blog post. If you are just starting out, I recommend having no less than 5-10 drafts ready to publish. It will be very tempting to hit the publish button as soon as possible, but resist at all cost. Writing just to write is one thing, but writing a post that is valuable and solves a problem your readers have is another. Read how I write and publish quality content.
5. After hitting publish
The work only increases after you hit your publish button. It’s time to promote your post to drive traffic to it, and it must be done right. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Share through word of mouth. Before you go live with your brand new blog, tell all of your friends and family members.
- Connect your blog to social media. WordPress allows you to connect your social media accounts so that your posts automatically get shared whenever you post new content. I only connect to the most popular social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest).
- Get going early with Pinterest. My site sees most of its traffic come through my Pinterest account. Create pinnable images and post to both your own boards as well as group boards. You can’t be very successful on Pinterest without a solid plan in place. Tailwind makes all of that a breeze! Read how Tailwind is boosting my blog traffic.
- Share more than once. We live in a rapidly changing social media environment. This is why it’s very important to create and maintain a solid social media strategy to share your new and old content regularly.
- Do keyword research. There are many SEO tools out there to assist you in determining the best keywords to use in your blog posts. From interviewing more experienced bloggers, I learned that the key to driving traffic is implementing a solid SEO strategy.
7. Making money with your blog
Some bloggers suggest waiting to monetize your blog until you’ve established a solid reach, but others insist you should start right away. I’m one of those that promote the “do it now” approach, but it has to be done right to be successful.
Some common ways bloggers make money include affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, product reviews, paid posts, and ad hosting. The best way to earn income is through affiliate marketing. Once you have your affiliate links set up, one post can earn you income over and over again.
Affiliate marketing is the way to go if you love promoting products you use and know how to appropriately market them to your readers. Once you are signed up with an affiliate marketing network, such as ShareASale, you can sign up for programs, start promoting products, and draw in commissions from purchases made through your affiliate links.
8. Be genuine first
It is very important to establish yourself as an expert in your niche before you start blowing up your blog with ads and affiliate links. Remember, the more you try to sell to people the less likely they are going to trust you and come to you as a reputable source of information.
You will be tempted to throw links into every blog post, and that’s a good strategy, but don’t overdo it. My rule of thumb is no more than 2-3 affiliate links per 1,000 words.
Don’t sell yourself short by recommending products you haven’t used, or wouldn’t use. If you are writing with your readers in mind, you will genuinely care about the reputation you are putting out there. I’ve seen too many bloggers load their sites up so much with ads and links that I closed out before reading their content.
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